It was a typical day at Webster Middle School and another boring, ordinary class of fourth-period history had begun. We were in the back of the classroom, me and Tommy, laughing, joking and not caring about the lesson that was being taught. We were in the seventh grade -- a time when most young, black males are making the vital decision to either continue successfully with their academics or put the books aside and pursue the World of Rebellion. It was a world where girls and the labels on our clothing trumped the power of a quality education. It was a world where our adolescent attitudes outgrew our small, fragile frames. A world where we cared less about what our parents and teachers thought and more about our status among the middle-school elite.